Everyday Creativity in the Workplace
You know the ones: the arty ones or the super-sociable ones. In the workplace, creativity is in all of us – it is our ability to open up our mind to possibility and potential – and is the source of innovation that every organisation needs to create successful solutions.
An example of creativity at work could be anything from devising a new, more effective system of electronic filing or identifying a new market for your product. While the latter might create more revenue, the former might just create the conditions for a much more efficient workplace which maximises the potential for profit from that revenue. Although increased revenue may be easy to quantify, an effective infrastructure is essential to build on that success. This is why it is important to value and encourage creativity at all levels and in all job types in your organisation, not just at management level or in the traditionally creative roles.
Successful solutions are rarely found in isolation
Unfortunately not everyone feels empowered to add their ideas to the mix. It can be daunting to speak up, intimidating to say something for fear of being shouted down by those who appear to know more. It’s here that creativity frameworks are very beneficial. They give people the permission, or platform, to generate and articulate their ideas without judgement. The idea itself may not be the solution, but it could be the springboard from which a workable solution is developed by the team.
Think of that first idea as David Beckham‘s ‘crazy’ cross to Ronaldo‘s goal. The goal is the solution that would never have been found without that first ‘crazy cross’ of an idea. This team analogy works well to illustrate that successful solutions are rarely found in isolation. They are born out of a team effort, where every ‘crazy cross’ or wild suggestion when given within a framework can create the environment for a successful outcome. We should also add that Beckham’s cross was the result of of training and practise. Much like creative thinking.
Leaders must set the conditions for creativity
Although idea generation techniques are essential to prompt discussion and collaboration, it’s also important to create the right workplace environment where everyone respects the rules. Dr Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats® helps to provide an effective, easy to follow framework, but it is also important that everyone collaborates with self-regulation and regard for others. This is where leaders must set the correct tone by displaying these skills and encouraging the team to follow suit.
Sustain motivation and morale with creativity
Valuing workplace creativity is also a terrific way to sustain motivation and morale. Idea generation sessions encourage the team to actually enjoy working together and promote a sense of belonging and commitment to the cause. It helps to strengthen workplace relationships in a way that table tennis and yoga sessions never can. Creativity sessions encourage people to take ownership of what they produce and be recognised for the ideas they create.
Use creativity techniques to build resilience
Truly collaborative teams are in it together, rather than a group of loosely connected individuals sitting in their own silos desperately searching for solutions. As part of a creative team with ‘no judgement rules’, people can challenge the present situation with a view to creating a better future. As part of a workplace herd, they feel more able to seek out different views and ideas, test assumptions rather than shoot them down and remain upbeat even under pressure.
Creativity should not be taught as a skill to use only in times of crisis. Creativity training is essential to put creativity at the heart of your everyday workplace skill set and encouraged alongside a workplace culture based on emotional intelligence, resilience and motivation. Put this together and you have the ideal conditions for a very bright future.